Uneasy Calm As Fubara, Wike Supporters Differ On A’Court Judgment

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State who are loyal to the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Chief Nyesom Wike, and those loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara are celebrating the judgement of the Court of Appeal.

Also celebrating the judgement are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Chief Tony Okocha.

News Direct observed that the celebration by the respective political camps was based on their interpretations of the appellate court’s order.

Speaking on the development, Chief Tony Okocha, caretaker committee chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, said the Court of Appeal’s judgement calls for celebration.
Okocha said: “I don’t know a sweeter moment than this because the Court of Appeal judgement has come to settle grey areas in our politics. The Court of Appeal said the order sought to be made or purportedly made by Justice CN Wali was in error. He has no jurisdiction; that this jurisdiction is simple and clear. The jurisdiction is a reserve of the Federal High Court. So, it was a nullity.

“On the order of the other court, the Court of Appeal said it didn’t follow the principles of fair hearing. So all of those are through to the trash can. They are in the dustbin as we speak.”

Reacting to the Appeal Court order, a PDP member loyal to Fubara, Dr. Legborsi Yamaabana, said that going by the appellate court’s judgement, the issue concerning members of the Rivers State House of
Assembly who defected from the PDP to the APC is far from being resolved.

Yamaabana said: “The appeal court’s recent decision focused solely on jurisdiction, ruling that only the Federal High Court can hear the case.

“Given the plethora of cases pending in the Federal High Court on this matter, the current celebrations by Amaewhule and his co-travellers are not only premature but misguided.

“The law is clear: a lost seat is a lost seat. There is no escape from the consequences of their actions.”

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, had dismissed an order of the Rivers State High Court which restrained the 24 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly led by Martin Amaewhule from parading themselves as members of the Assembly.

The court set aside the restraining orders that were made by the State High Court, for lacking jurisdiction to hear the case: It said the case should have been filed at the Federal High Court, not the state high court.

After the judgment, the National Democratic Coalition (NDC) rejected the ruling, describing it as a low point in Nigeria’s democracy.

The court made the order in a judgement on an appeal by Amaewhule and the 24 Assembly members challenging the interlocutory decision of the Rivers State High Court, delivered on May 10, 2024.
Delivering judgement on the appeal on Thursday, Justice Jimi Olukayode-Bada, leading a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, held that Amaewhule’s appeal was “meritorious” and therefore allowed same.

Consequently, the suit by Victor Oko-Jumbo at the Rivers State High Court was struck out.

The panel held that Amaewhule and the 24 Rivers State House of Assembly members should revert to their positions before the restraining order. It held that the only court vested with jurisdiction to hear Oko-jumbo’s suit is the Federal High Court, not the State High Court.

Consequently, the appellate court held that the ex parte order which had restrained Amaewhule and the 24 Assembly members, having been made without jurisdiction, “is null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.

The panel held that in granting an ex parte order, there must be an existence of “real urgency and not self-induced urgency”.

Furthermore, the Court of Appeal said the trial court should have heard the appellant’s position in the interest of fair hearing since there was no urgency in making the interlocutory injunction.

However, the coalition, in a statement in Abuja, signed by its executive director, Dr. Samson Iroegbunam, said the court had given politicians a licence to defect from the party upon which they were elected to another without consequences.

It said the ruling, given its controversial nature, had again heightened concerns about the raging allegations that have been made against the Judiciary.

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